Business booms at reopened Cape Breton wildlife park
Two Rivers Wildlife Park sees 50% increase in visitors after reopening to the public
Two Rivers Wildlife Park in Cape Breton is seeing a boom in business after closing for two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The park in Huntington saw about 50 per cent more people in May 2020 than in May 2019, according to Jarrett Lewis, a park attendant.
He believes locals looking for ways to safely spend their time is behind the boost in numbers.
"Everyone was cooped up so much during quarantine, everyone wanted to get out so we were one of the first parks to open... and at least you can walk around and see the animals, [it's] something different."
The non-profit establishment includes a wildlife park, campground and various outdoor activities. It reopened in early May.
Staff have been taking extra precautions during the pandemic to keep patrons safe. Those include only allowing people to walk in one direction around the park, extra sanitizing and installing signs encouraging people to stay two metres apart.
The park gets much of its revenue from admissions but also from fundraisers and other events.
Lewis said locals have been supportive. He said the local base will be enough to keep the park afloat even with an anticipated drop in tourism.
Breah Slade-Williams, a Sydney resident, spent some time in the park on one of the hottest days in May. She said it was a relief to get out of the house and see something different.
"I like coming out here because there's lots of stuff to do," she said. "You can go swimming, you can get food, you can feed animals, you can go camping. It's nice to finally get out and go places."
Louisdale's Justine Martell took her children to the park to see the animals.
She and her children have been staying home for health reasons. However, Martell decided it was time for the family to get out of the house.
"[My son] is literally getting scared to leave the house now so I said, 'No, lets go,'" said Martell.
Her eight-year-old son Ryan Larade agrees.
"We came here today so we can get out of the house and see a lot of animals," said Larade.